Northern Ireland pupil found guilty of 'upskirting' two teachers
'I am deeply sorry for the distress, worry and pain I have brought about by my actions' - Timothy Boomer
A court has ruled a former pupil of Enniskillen Royal School is guilty of five counts of committing acts of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature, outraging public decency by making covert video-recordings underneath the skirts of two teachers.
The images were taken on various dates between February 2015 and September 2016, when the defendant was aged 14 and 15.
Three charges related to one woman, and the remainder to the second.
While the case was heard last month at Strabane Youth Court, judgment was reserved, with the ruling issued on Wednesday.
Now identified as eighteen-year old Timothy Boomer, and no longer at the school, the court heard the facts were not disputed, but he denied his conduct amounted to criminal activity.
He did not appear for the hearing nor any previous mentions beforehand.
Speaking after the verdict Boomer, who will be be sentenced next month said:“ I am deeply sorry for the distress, worry and pain I have brought about by my actions.
"I want to express my regret and remorse for the hurt I have caused to my teachers. It was a wrong, horrible thing to do and at that age I stupidly and wrongly thought it was a daredevil prank ,which I genuinely meant no harm by.
"I recognise how wrong I was and that my actions have had a devastating impact on my teachers and also my parents, and family. My regrets will be with me for the rest of my life.“
A defending lawyer described the activity as “a childish prank” and “teenage bravado”. He said his client appreciated the stupidity of his conduct and understands this was an unsavoury act.
Boomer, he contended was a teenage boy “trying to impress his peers" but claimed the actions would not outrage people, and was probably not the first time it had happened in a school setting.
The prosecution however argued "upskirting" has on many occasions been found to amount to an act to outrage public decency.
The defence argued there is currently no actual offence of "upskirting" in Northern Ireland and accepted “an identifiable need” for law around this activity is required. But he maintained the prosecution were “trying to shoehorn the facts of this case into the current unsatisfactory state of the law".
Legislation states an act of a lewd, obscene and disgusting nature must happen in a public place with the possibility persons might witness the activity.
But the prosecution dismissed Boomer’s motivation behind the “gross and humiliating attack on the two ladies” while in their workplace.
The defence however argued a school is not a place of general public access, and as such the prosecution case was not proven.
With submissions concluded on both sides the youth panel hearing the case, led by a district judge accompanied by two lay magistrates, adjourned to consider ether findings.
On return to Enniskillen Youth Court today, Boomer was again not present, but both victims attended, supported by their union the NASUWT.
Handing down guilty verdicts on all counts, the judge said he and the panel held the images were “lewd, obscene and disgusting.”
Drawing on the issue on the school being a public place, the judge ruled although access would be restricted, it was not to the same element as privacy in a home setting.
He said that teachers and pupils did form members of the general public and the school was a public place.
The case has been adjourned while pre-sentence reports are prepared.
The two victims hugged each other after the case concluded before leaving the court.
Belfast Telegraph Digital